Dear SSIS Parents,
Each year, at about this time, we finalize our recruitment of new faculty for the upcoming school year. It is an exciting process, as the best educators from around the world continue to make SSIS their first choice.
By the time they are hired, each candidate has been interviewed by me and their divisional principal, the department head, team lead, and specialist teachers. For the final step, the candidates’ documentation, degrees, and personal references go through a comprehensive background check by HireRight in the interest of child protection safety.
This year’s 19 recruits represent additional support services we are providing for our students (a Director of Student Development), and eight positions to support growth in the student population. The remaining positions are teachers replacing faculty who are leaving.
In the bios below, you will find that all of our highly qualified recruits bring a wealth of diverse experiences to our community. On average, they have 15 years of teaching experience, and nearly 80% hold Masters degrees. We couldn’t be more excited for you to meet them in person next semester!
As always, if you have any questions about our recruiting process or other school-wide matters, please do not hesitate to contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org).
All good wishes,
Dr. Catriona Moran
Head of School
Updated: July 13, 2021
Najela Hammond (Haiti)
Director of Student Development
Najela brings extensive experience from school administration to SSIS. Previously, she’s served as both an assistant elementary school principal and a schoolwide coordinator of a resource and ELL program.
Prior to her work within school administration, Najela spent many years as a teacher, serving as an elementary homeroom teacher, and teaching MS language arts and social studies, as well as special education.
“I’m looking forward to learning about the students of SSIS so that I can best serve their needs as they strive to reach self-actualization and achieve their dreams,” says Najela.
She will be accompanied by her husband Wayne, who is joining our HS English department, and their two daughters, Anouk (G8) and Saskia (G4). Najela hopes to learn Vietnamese and become a regular practitioner of Tai-Chi.
Education: Master of Arts in Special Education (University of Southern Mississippi), Masters in Educational Leadership (Lehigh University, USA), Bachelors of Arts (Queens College, New York City, USA).
Ashley Sawyer (USA)
Grade 3 Classroom Teacher
Ashley comes to us from Europe, where she’s spent the last five years at the International School of Luxembourg. For the past three years, she has served as the Grade Level Leader at the school.
Originally from Oklahoma in the US, Ashley has taught in Seattle, Washington. A self-professed lifelong learner with an inquiry approach, she is looking forward to engaging in new learning opportunities alongside her students.
Ashley is excited to start a new adventure in Vietnam and plans to contribute her joy to the established dance culture in the community.
Education: Bachelors of Science in Education (University of Oklahoma, USA).
Sophie Gamage (Australia)
Grade 4 Classroom Teacher
Highly experienced in the world of international schools, Sophie has a breadth of knowledge in the field of education. During her nearly twelve years in education, Sophie has worked in many varied curriculums, such as the IB, the Victorian, and the Australian.
Sophie has taught grade 4, grade 3, and grade 2 at Safa Community School (Dubai, UAE), where she also served as the Head of Performing Arts. She will be joining us from the American British Academy (Oman), where she’s spent the past two years as a grade 1 teacher. Before teaching in the Middle East, Sophie taught in Australia and in the UK.
Sophie is very excited about supporting drama productions and assemblies, as well as collaborating with other teachers on producing visual and performing arts projects. She is also looking forward to getting involved in CAS projects which demonstrate the SSIS Core Values in action.
Although not accompanied by any family members, Sophie’s mother and sister are nearby, teaching in Bangkok, Thailand.
Education: Bachelor of Teacher/Bachelor of Arts (University of Newcastle, Australia).
Lance Colin Paul (South Africa)
Joining us from the International School of Belgrade (Serbia), where he currently works as the Lower School counselor, Lance comes to us with extensive experience in strengthening schools’ support models in collaboration with specialists and educators.
With nearly 10 years of experience from the IB community, Lance has also worked for Yew Chung Education Foundation in Hong Kong and Suzhou Singapore International School in China. During his tenures, he has coordinated the development and extension of child protection policies and homeroom programs across several schools.
Previously Lance spent six years working for the counseling unit at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, as well as the Eastern Province Children’s Homes Organization in his native South Africa.
Lance is looking forward to working with the dynamic team at Saigon South International School and enriching the environment for all community members.
Lance will be joined by his wife, Mo, a photographer, videographer, and short film producer, and his sons Jordan Cruz and Joshua Jude (KG).
Education: Master in Counseling Psychology (Monash University, Australia), Post Graduate in Counseling (Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, South Africa), Bachelor’s in Education specializing in Mathematics and Science (Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, South Africa).
Gretchen Dillon (USA/UK)
ES Librarian (Part-time)
Gretchen has over eight years of experience in the field of education and is a credentialed teacher with endorsements in Elementary Education, English, and English as an Additional Language.
For the past seven years, Gretchen has called Scotland home. In addition to teaching Kindergarten at the International School Aberdeen (Scotland), she has been raising her two children.
Beginning her international teaching career as a Peace Corps volunteer in Moldova, Gretchen has taught in Brazil, Mexico, and Qatar.
In the SSIS community, she’s excited to share her experiences in early childhood literacy through her work in the library. She’s also looking forward to the warmth and size of her new city as well as learning about the best places for vegetarian cuisine.
Gretchen will be joined by her husband, Jake, who will be teaching Mathematics and Science in the Middle School, as well as her two children, Asher (G1) and Abel (EC3).
Education: Juris Doctorate in Law (Baylor University, USA), Master in Education (Buffalo State, SUNY, USA), Bachelor of Arts in Government (University of Texas at Austin, USA), Bachelor of Science in Applied Learning and Development (University of Texas at Austin, USA).
Kelly Wood (Canada)
Grade 5 Classroom Teacher
During her 14 years in education, Kelly has taught students from elementary to high school in a variety of subject areas.
She will be joining us from American International School – Riyadh where she’s split her time between Grade 1 and Middle School Drama, often crossing over to teach a class of HS Innovation, broadcast journalism, and social-emotional wellness, health, and fitness.
Kelly, who also has 6 years of experience teaching Grade 1 and Grade 5 at the International School of Panama, is excited to be joining the Grade 5 team and is hoping to be involved in any ES performance productions and leading after-school activities like Dungeons and Dragons Club.
Kelly will be joined by her husband, Dan, who will teach IB Physics, and their three children, Owen (G7), Victor (G5), and Norah (G2).
Education: Masters of Teaching (Griffith University in Queensland, Australia), Bachelor of Arts (University of Toronto, Canada).
Shelley Arnold (USA)
Grade 3 Classroom Teacher
Shelley, who in addition to her teaching degrees holds an ELL endorsement (endorsement to teach English Language Learners), will be joining us from The International School of Portland (USA) where she’s been teaching for the past two years.
For nearly 10 of her 14 years as a teacher, Shelley has taught internationally at the Universal American School Dubai (UAE), Canadian International School of Hong Kong, and the Vienna International School (Austria), in addition to her US experience.
A deep believer in inquiry-based learning and giving students the opportunity to be active leaders within their education, Shelley is thrilled to begin building students’ love for learning math and helping to enhance their experiences through the integration of technology.
Shelley will be joined by her 18-month-old son, Finn, who keeps her very active and fulfilled when she’s not in the classroom.
Education: Master of Education with a focus on Early Childhood Education (University of Florida, USA), Bachelor of Arts in Education with a focus on Special Education (University of Florida, USA).
Mary Anyango (Kenya)
Grade 5 Classroom Teacher
A third-generation teacher, Mary comes from an environment where education was considered paramount to success. She credits many with helping her realize her dreams of becoming a teacher.
For the past 12 years, Mary’s had a rewarding career as an educator in Nairobi, Kenya. She’s served as a Lead Teacher and Master Teacher at the Aga Khan Academy in Nairobi, Kenya for 10 years. During her time there, she received an “IB Evaluation Commendation”, one of the greatest recognition as a model IB primary years program teacher.
Outside of school, Mary enjoys volunteering and has dedicated her time to an organization that works closely with young girls and teen mothers from underprivileged backgrounds. When she’s not volunteering she can be found spending time with her 12-year-old daughter and family, cooking, reading, going to the movies, or organizing events.
Mary will be joined by her daughter, Michelle (G8), an avid athlete whose greatest love is IT and design. A member of her school’s coding club, she dreams of taking a course in computer science one day.
Education: Primary Teachers’ Education Certificate (Migori Teachers’ College, Kenya), Bachelor of Education Arts (Kenyatta University, Kenya), Web Design/Development (Nairobits Digital Design School, Kenya)
Sarah Dowd (USA)
Grade 5 EAL Teacher
Joe Ray (USA)
Grade 1 Teacher
Joe will be bringing a wealth of experience when he joins our grade 1 team in the upcoming school year. Although he has been teaching for 17 years, he still remembers clearly his first year as a student-teacher when he learned just how much his enthusiasm and encouragement were instrumental in creating a positive learning environment for all students.
Joe is very familiar with international schools and has spent time teaching in Egypt and Doha, outside of teaching in the US.
An art major in college Joe can still miss making pottery and sculptures. When he’s not teaching he loves hiking, bike riding, and diving.
Education: Master Educational Leadership (American College of Education, USA), Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education (Southwestern University, USA), Degree in Early Childhood (Southwestern University, USA).
Craig Armitt (UK)
ES Learning Support Teacher
Craig has called Vietnam the past decade and is well-acquainted with SSIS, having collaborated with several members of our faculty during professional development. During his ten years as a teacher, Craig has developed a true passion for his career in learning support and the impact his job has on the individual child and the family as a whole.
Craig looks forward to joining a school committed to maximizing the outcomes of every student, while also prioritizing the health and well-being of students and faculty.
Married since 2019, Craig is the proud father of Imogen (age 1). Craig’s wife Dieu is expecting their second child.
Education: PGCE Education (Sunderland University, UK), BSc Sports Science (Liverpool John Moores University, UK), Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst – BCaBA (Behavior Analyst Certification Board, UK)
Aileen Torres (Philippines)
ES Kindergarten Teacher
Aileen, a teacher for 15 years, is inspired by her students’ awe and eagerness for learning to provide them opportunities to discover the world using all of their senses.
Her extensive international school experience comes from years of teaching in international schools in China, Indonesia, and her home country, the Philippines, where she was at the International School of Manila for nine years.
When not teaching, Aileen loves to cook and bake, go to the beach, hike, and volunteer through her church. A former glee club member during her university years, she loves to sing with friends. Aileen is currently working towards a master’s degree in Language and Literacy Education at the University of the Philippines.
Aileen’s husband Mike, an educator and a computer programmer will be joining her, as will her two sons, Mikel (14), an avid coder and pianist, and Micah (9), a gregarious ball of energy with a photographic memory.
Education: Bachelor of Arts in Psychology (Ateneo de Manila University, Philippines)
Instructional Coach – MS: Technology
Originally from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Daniel is an experienced international educator, having worked in Russia, South Africa, United Arab Emirates, and China before working at SSIS.
A data-driven technology specialist with over 13 years of experience, Daniel works closely with classroom teachers to achieve technology transformation and create an atmosphere conducive to learning.
Daniel is determined to discover creative ways to assist schools and organizations in meeting their learning and productivity goals.
Daniel has led schools in technology initiatives from inception to deployment. A highly creative, innovative, and passionate educator, Daniel’s passion for multimedia led him to create the Video Broadcasting program at the American School of Dubai.
Education: Masters International Education (Endicott College, USA), Bachelor of Education (University of Alberta, Canada), Bachelor of Physical Education (University of Alberta, Canada)
Deborah Jones (Canadian)
MS Health and PE
Deb has spent the vast majority of her adult life teaching at international schools. From Russia, Malaysia, and the United Arab Emirates, to The Netherlands and Morocco.
During her time as an educator, Deb has spent 18 years teaching Secondary Physical Education and 11 years teaching Secondary Mathematics. Even though she truly enjoys teaching both subject areas, her true passion lies in Health and Physical Education.
Originally from Saint Thomas, Ontario, a small town just two hours west of Toronto, Deb is also a certified Personal Trainer and Health and Wellness Specialist, expertise which she incorporates into her classroom.
Deb wants to motivate, encourage and educate her students about the importance of living a healthy, active lifestyle and show them how this lifestyle can help them to reach their full potential.
When she’s not teaching, you can find Deb training, hiking, reading and spending time with friends and family, or doing some kind of sport. She is very excited to be joining Saigon South International School and its wonderful community.
Education: Bachelor of Arts: Physical Education & Health, Emphasis in Physical Education and Business (University of Western Ontario, Canada), Teacher’s Certification (University of Calgary, Canada).
Julianne Athon (USA)
MS EAL Teacher
Julianne’s teaching career started over 10 years ago in Connecticut, USA when she joined the Teach For America program after graduating from UC Berkeley.
Chasing her dream of teaching abroad, Julianne moved to Madrid, Spain where she taught EAL and received her Master’s.
For the past four years, Julianne has been teaching at The American School in Ho Chi Minh City, where she also ran the Queer Straight Alliance and Spanish club.
Julianne enjoys reading, speaking Spanish, and playing guitar. She’s excited to bring these passions to SSIS!
Education: Masters in Bilingual and Multicultural Education (University of Alcala, Spain), Bachelors of Art in English Literature (University of California, Berkeley, USA).
Jacob West (USA/UK)
MS Science and Mathematics
Jacob started his 13-year teaching career in Los Angeles with Teach for America. Since then he has also taught in Brazil and Qatar. Most recently, he spent seven years at the International School Aberdeen (Scotland).
In addition to teaching, Jacob has coordinated the Science curriculum from PreK-12 and led several school-wide initiatives around professional development, intercultural learning, and internationalism.
Jacob is excited about sharing his love for soccer, basketball, and the ukulele with the community. He will be joined by his wife, Gretchen, who will be working in the Elementary library, as well as his two children, Asher (G1) and Abel (EC3).
Education: Master in Learning and Instruction (Vanderbilt University, USA) and a Master in Education Leadership (George Mason University, USA), Bachelor of Arts in History (Texas A&M University, USA).
Kevin Brodeur (USA)
A Grade 5 and Grade 6 teacher for the past 25 years, Kevin has spent the last five years at Ruamrudee International School in Bangkok, where he taught Grade 6 Humanities and served as Middle School ELA Department Head. Kevin also has extensive experience teaching history, creative writing, drama, and coaching cross-country.
He is excited to help our students tap into their creative expression and polish their public speaking skills and will be piloting both a creative writing and voice-acting elective this year in the Middle School.
Kevin is joined by his wife, Elisia, Communications Specialist at RIS and freelance editor and life coach, and his two sons, Duncan (G10) and Tobin (G8), and his “fuzzy daughter,” Tetley, a neurotic miniature Australian Shepherd.
Education: Currently working on a Masters in Instructional Technology (Fort Hays State University, USA), Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education and English (Seton Hall University, USA).
Cintia Bastos (Brazil)
Cintia has over 10 years of experience in the field of education. Since 2015 she’s worked as an Elementary Librarian at Carol Morgan School of Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic), where she’s also served as SW Library Head for the last 4 years.
Prior to Carol Morgan, Cintia served as a K-12 librarian at Pan American School of Porto Alegre (Brazil) for 5 years. Cintia was awarded the prestigious Da Vinci Huis Award for Brazil, 2014 for her innovative library program.
Also an Arts Integration specialist with a certificate from The Institute of Arts Integration and STEAM (USA), Cintia is currently working on her Reading Specialist endorsement, at Queen’s University (Canada).
Cintia is very excited to join the SSIS team and is looking forward to collaborating with teachers and continuing to expand the diverse and inclusive library program by offering engaging, culturally relevant, and creative experiences to all students.
Cintia will be joined by her husband Jone who just earned his BA in Math and Physics, as well as her son Emerson (G4).
Education: Master in Educational Leadership (The State University of New York, USA), Bachelor of Arts in Librarianship and endorsement in Early Literacy (University Federal Fluminense, Brazil)
Sean Boyes (Australia)
An avid sportsman, Sean will be joining SSIS from Shanghai where he’s been teaching at Harrow International School for the past 2 years. Sean is passionate about inspiring the development of healthy lifestyles across schools and increasing student participation. While working in Japan, Sean developed British School in Tokyo into the second-ranked international school for swimming in the country.
With nearly 15 years of international experience as a PE teacher, Sean says he has been inspired by his own History teacher in Year 7, always trying to challenge students to get the very best out of them.
Sean, a triathlete, enjoys keeping active and has raced a number of half-ironman competitions. In his downtime, Sean loves movies and reading. He and his family are excited to experience Vietnamese culture and cuisine.
Sean will be joined by his wife, Nozomi who is currently looking after their son, Kaz, age 1 1/2. Nozomi is also a qualified teacher with a passion for EAL, English, and Japanese.
Education: Post Graduate Diploma in Education (Edith Cowan University, Australia), Post Graduate Certificate in Education (Buckingham University), Graduate Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety Management (Curtin University), Bachelor of Education (Edith Cowan University, Australia), Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting) (Deakin University, Australia)
Ellen Mussleman (USA)
MS History Teacher
Ellen will be joining us from Qatar where she currently teaches at SEK International School in Doha. The first half of her adult life, however, was spent as an archeologist working in swamps, caves, deserts, and forests.
During her career as an archeologist, Ellen was involved in a lot of public outreach and noticed the difference she could make in a community. She decided to dedicate her life to education.
One of Ellen’s most lasting memories as an educator, was while working as a senior sponsor, supporting struggling Grade 12 students. Working one-on-one to help them reach their goal, and watching them receive their diplomas was one of the most rewarding moments of her career.
When not in the classroom, Ellen, who has a true passion for exploring the world around her, loves traveling to new places, meeting new people, and taking in new cultures. She is always looking for ways to grow, collaborate, and make positive contributions.
Ellen will be joined by her curious and compassionate daughter, Sarah Elle (G3). They are both excited to join our community and are looking forward to new friendships and new adventures in Vietnam.
Education: Master of Arts in Education in Secondary Education (University of Alabama at Birmingham, USA), Bachelor of Arts in History (University of Alabama at Birmingham, USA)
Bev Giacobbe Larson (USA)
MS Social Studies
Encouraged by a friend to change her major to education, Bev has never looked back during the 15 years she’s devoted to teaching social studies and explaining concepts in a way students understand.
After starting her teaching career in the US, Bev, who says she loves learning about new cultures, has taught in Nigeria and Saudia Arabia.
On her days off, Bev likes to spend time with her husband Leif (HS Music Teacher) and her two young daughters, Freiya, age 3, and Kallie, age 1.
Education: Master of Education (Northern Arizona University, USA), Bachelor of Arts Political Science (Colorado State University, USA)
Tom Lupton (UK)
MS Science and Mathematics Teacher
Tom is a passionate educator who thrives on seeing students’ amazement and awe when it comes to math and science. He recalls how while exploring pH, acids, and alkalis, his class became so excited that several students asked to come back at lunchtime to do more experiments. He strives for that engagement daily.
As the head of the department for science at the American School of Vietnam, Tom created a science fair that turned the entire school into a giant STEM-related escape room. Students ran around the school in their advisory groups in order to complete STEM challenges and puzzles in various rooms across the campus.
Most of Tom’s free time involves making music – he’s played the guitar since he was in grade 6 and has recently taken up the piano and drums. He’s also a big fan of board games and learning to code in “Python.”
Through conferences and acquaintances, Tom is already familiar with the SSIS community and is very much looking forward to joining our team of passionate educators.
Education: MSci Physics with Astrophysics (University of Birmingham, UK), PGCEi (University of Nottingham, UK)
Ambre Bosko (USA)
HS English Teacher
Ambre has over 14 years of teaching experience most recently in Dubai, UAE at The American School of Dubai, where she’s taught for the past nine years.
In addition to her experience in the Advanced Placement curriculum, Ambre is knowledgeable in the German Abitur from her time teaching at the German International School of Washington.
Ambre looks forward to supporting service organizations at SSIS, particularly those focused on the environment and human rights, in addition to helping with the performing arts.
A third-culture kid, who spent her formative years in the United Arab Emirates, Nigeria, Norway, Indonesia, Singapore, and the United States, Ambre shares that home is something allusive to her.
Before going into teaching, Ambre worked as a copywriter, editor, and creative assistant in advertising and communications.
Ambre will be joined by her husband, Johan, a Swedish veterinarian, and their two young daughters, Nova, age 3, and Solveig, age 1.
Johan and Ambre are excited to explore the culinary and music culture of Vietnam, in addition to biking on a daily basis.
Education: Master in Teaching (George Washington University, USA), Bachelor of Science in Print Journalism (James Madison University, USA).
Daniel Ladbrook (Canada)
HS Physics, DP Physics & AP Physics Teacher
Currently the Head of Mathematics at the American International School – Riyadh where he teaches DP Mathematics, Daniel has 14 years of teaching experience. In addition to 8 years at his current school, Daniel spent 6 years teaching General and DP Physics at the International School of Panama.
Daniel is very excited to join the Science Department and move back into the Physics classroom. He is also looking forward to getting involved with clubs and athletics at SSIS and participating in the group 4 project.
Kelly, Daniel’s wife, will be teaching Grade 5 at SSIS. They are joined by their three children, Owen (G7), Victor (G5), and Norah (G2).
Education: Masters of Teaching (Griffith University, Queensland, Australia), Bachelor of Engineering (McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada).
Matthias Kreier (Germany)
HS Math and Science
For many years, Matthias supported students and helped them to understand the world, yet he didn’t consider himself a teacher. Convinced by several long-time friends to enter into education, Matthias has never looked back and has enjoyed his career in teaching for over 10 years.
Matthias holds a degree in Physics from Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, where Einstein himself once taught. When he is not teaching he likes to travel and study the economics and history of the countries he lives in or visits. He looks forward to joining our community.
Education: State Examination Teaching Certificate for Physics and Mathematics (Niedersächsisches Landesprüfungsamt für Lehrämter, Germany), Master in Experimental Physics (Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, Germany)
Leif Larson (USA)
In the past 11 years, Leif has taught music across several continents.
He is particularly inspired to teach and continue to grow as a music educator in those moments of collective “aha” when performing something particularly expressive with students. One former student even decided to follow in his footsteps and become a band teacher – a true moment of pride.
When not teaching, Leif enjoys cooking and exploring new recipes for his family. He also enjoys exploring new and unfamiliar music.
Leif will be joined by his wife Bev, (MS Social Studies) and his two young daughters, Freiya, age 3, and Kallie, age 1
Education: Bachelor of Science Instrumental Music Education (University of Wisconsin, USA)
Jonathan Sheppard (USA)
HS English Teacher
Always more enthralled with the mysterious and wise teacher in the movies of his youth, Jonathan knew early on that he wanted to work in education and become a mentor to students.
Since beginning his teaching career over ten years ago, Jonathan has spent significant time teaching in South Korea, from Busan to Seoul. For the past four years, he’s been teaching in Vietnam and comes to us from Vietnam Australia International School.
When not spending time with his family, lifting weights, or reading, Jonathan, a soon-to-be father of two, is busy pursuing a doctorate in Educational Practice & Leadership at the University of North Dakota.
Education: Master of Education (Southeastern Oklahoma State University, USA), Bachelor of Science (The College of New Jersey, USA)